The Story of Joshua:
In the Old Testament, there is a story that illustrates the miracle-working power of God. After the Lord delivered the children of Israel from slavery in Egypt, He called them to go into the Promised Land. Moses was dead, and the leadership baton was passed to Joshua. “And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, “Are You for us or for our adversaries?” So He said, “No, but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, “What does my Lord say to His servant?” Then the Commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, “Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.” And Joshua did so.” (Joshua 5:13-15). What a powerful encounter with an angel of the Lord in prayer! And the Lord called Joshua to lead the children of Israel into battle against the city of Jericho.
“Now Jericho was securely shut up because of the children of Israel; none went out, and none came in. And the Lord said to Joshua: “See! I have given Jericho into your hand, its king, and the mighty men of valor.” (Joshua 6:1-2). Notice that the Lord said, “I have given Jericho into your hand.” Past tense. The Bible says that Jesus “Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness–by whose stripes you were healed.” (1 Peter 2:24). You were healed at the Cross two thousand years ago. The battle is already won – victory is ours!
But then look at the interesting and unique battle strategy the Lord gave them: “You shall march around the city, all you men of war; you shall go all around the city once. This you shall do six days. And seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. But the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. It shall come to pass, when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, that all the people shall shout with a great shout; then the wall of the city will fall down flat. And the people shall go up every man straight before him.” (Joshua 6:3-5).
When the people heard the Word of the Lord, they believed it, they trusted it, and they acted on it. And here’s what took place when they obeyed God: “So the people shouted when the priests blew the trumpets. And it happened when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat. Then the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.” (Joshua 6:20). They obeyed God and it worked – a miracle took place. They discovered that God is true and faithful and He will do what He said He will do.
There might be another reason why people don’t get answers to their prayers. Sometimes people pray and then they just sit back and wait for God to do a miracle. No! We need to pray like it all depends on God, but work like it all depends on us. We have a role to play, too. The children of Israel didn’t just pray and sit back and say, “Okay, God – you take the city now! Knock those walls down!” No, they had a part to play, too. We need to do what we can do, and then God will do what we can’t do for ourselves. If you’re sick, then do whatever you can to take care of your body – eat right, exercise, etc. If you need a new job, make sure your resumes out there and get some interviews! If you have relationship problems, do whatever you can to pursue peace with that person. Then, once you’ve done all you know to do, trust God for the rest. Amen!
Pastor Chris Jordan